EXCLUSIVE: Anika Noni Rose, soon to be seen as Kizzy on the History Channel’s Roots remake, will play the lead in BET’s 2-hour scripted pilot The Yard. She stars, with Peyton Alex Smith, as Eva, the newly elected President of the fictional college Georgia A&M. Upon her arrival, Eva finds a bold, brazen and diverse freshman class that promises to keep her hands full. The cast includes Ruben Santiago-Hudson (BillionsAmerican Gangster), Sean Blakemore (General Hospital) and Jasmine Guy (The Vampire Diaries). Executive producers Felicia Henderson (Single Ladies, Soul Food) and Rob Hardy (The Vampire Diaries, Empire), who also directs, team up to bring their proven magic touch to a new setting.

The Tony Award-winning actress (Caroline, or Change) and The Good Wife regular also has a guest arc on the new season of Power, returning this summer. Rose is repped by Innovative, David Williams Management, MGMT Entertainment and the UK’s Artists Partnerships. Peyton Alex Smith is repped by Authentic, Kim Dawson & SGSBC.